Winter wonderland during “Christmas at the Princess”

This AAA/CAA Five Diamond resort transforms into a winter wonderland in the desert with its Lagoon Lights, Princess Express Train and all-new, Desert Ice Holiday Rink, gingerbread village, visits from Santa and a four-story musical Christmas tree shimmering with snowflakes.

The 3rd Annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony will take place November 27, 2012 starting at 6:30 p.m. The evening, open to the public, includes musical performances, Santa Claus, carolers, complimentary sugar cookies and spiced cider on the Plaza. Following the ceremony, the Desert Ice Holiday Rink is christened with demonstrations by national ice skating champions and then opens to the public. The resort’s Holiday Shoppe will have a “Sparkle” event where kids dip and paint their own sparkle ornament for $5. The event also kicks-off the resort’s annual Toy for Tots Drive. Valet parking is $10 that evening and self-parking is complimentary.

The Holiday Tree has 65,000 LED lights which “twinkle and dance” to 10 holiday songs. This synchronized lighting and music show runs 6 p.m.– 10 p.m. nightly throughout the season. During the day, this dazzling, four-story tree is a visual experience, with dozens of glistening snowflakes and a 5-foot snowflake tree topper.

The all-new Desert Ice Holiday Rink at the picturesque Cactus Garden will be a 5,400 square-foot rink, made with real ice, that is open daily to the public. The price per session is $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 and younger and $5 for skate rental. A portion of the skating proceeds will benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Check for hours of operation.

More than 500,000 lights will illuminate the resort’s majestic lagoons. Visitors can stroll through a lit fantasy land to see graceful swans floating on the water, a buccaneer pirate ship, 14-foot poinsettias, a rocking horse, toy soldiers, Santa fishing and many other whimsical displays. Throughout the resort, 75 trees will be wrapped in lights, many draped with icicles and snowflakes, along with a 10-foot lighted menorah, dreidels, the Three Wise Men and a skating snowman. Hitch a ride on the WMPO Princess Express, an electric train, which offers complimentary rides on Friday and Saturday nights around the lagoons to spectators of all ages.

Inside the main lobby, guests can enjoy the beauty of four natural green trees, embellished with vibrant colors that capture the heritage of the Southwest. Angel statues of delicately hammered silver, wreaths, swags and candles give the lobby a warm glow, with a 7-foot gingerbread nutcracker and gingerbread village adding to the holiday decor.

A 25-foot fiesta tree will also adorn La Hacienda Plaza near Willow Stream Spa, with music filling the air with the sounds of the season.

The tree lighting ceremony kicks off the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’ toy drive for Toys for Tots. The resort will then be a drop-off location for Toys for Tots through Dec. 20, 2012.

The Holiday Shoppe, located just off the lobby, is a charming boutique offering a variety of themed ornaments, toys and holiday gifts. The Shoppe will also sell holiday cards designed by Phoenix Children’s Hospital patients, supporting their 26th Annual Card Project fund-raiser.

Near the ice skating rink is a new shop, The Igloo, with wintery wear such as hats, scarves and mittens, along with holiday décor, glow sticks and blinking novelty items and gourmet chocolates. Shipping is free in the U.S. for all purchases over $250 and gift wrapping is complimentary at all of the resort’s retail outlets.

Friday and Saturday nights are fireside with Santa in the Princess Lobby, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., November 30 – December 24, where the young and young-at-heart can have their photo taken with Kris Kringle for just $10, or the photo is complimentary after dining in any of the restaurants that evening including BOURBON STEAK, La Hacienda, The Grill or LV Bistro. Photos are available for immediate pick-up in the resort’s adjacent Holiday Shoppe.

Carolers stroll the grounds singing holiday favorites from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights November 30 through Christmas Eve and a nightly menorah lighting with applesauce and latkes takes place in the resort lobby through Hanukkah, December 8-16.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale. For information, please call (480) 585-4848, toll-free (866) 540-4495 or visit